Attention Long Island guitarists and drummers: It’s time to go back to school. You can pick up a six-string or pair of sticks and take a master class with professional touring musicians.
Guitarist Dweezil Zappa, son of the late Frank Zappa, gives a lesson April 27 at The Paramount in Huntington hours before he takes the stage for an evening performance. Drummers Corky Laing of Mountain and Kofi Baker, son of Cream drummer Ginger Baker, will instruct at the Patchogue Theatre on April 29 after their Saturday night gig.
Passing along information about the guitar is something Zappa, 48, enjoys doing. His master class is conducted as a casual hangout where he offers a different perspective on the instrument.
“I try to take the most complicated stuff and really simplify it,” says Zappa. “I break it down by viewing the guitar as three sets of two strings. This way there’s only a few shapes your fingers need to make on each set. It changes the whole way you see the fretboard.”
He focuses on developing a guitar vocabulary with his students. It’s suggested that you bring your own guitar to the 75-minute session.
“It’s based less on learning new things and more about taking what you already know and looking at it five different ways,” Zappa says. “The best thing about music is there’s always more stuff to learn.”
During Zappa’s live show, “Choice Cuts,” he performs some of his father’s vintage material.
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“We are doing a lot of things that are very rare, like ‘Florentine Pogen,’ which Frank only played on one tour 12 times,” Zappa says. “This is something that’s only known in the bootleg community.”
He will pull out a complicated tune like “Absolutely Free” from the Mothers of Invention’s 1968 album “We’re Only in It for the Money” to “create that time machine feeling onstage,” he says.
INFO 3 p.m. master class ($75) followed by 8 p.m. concert ($25-$110) April 27 at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave. in Huntington; 631-673-7300, paramountny.com
LAING & BAKER
Several years ago, Laing and Baker formed a drummers bond. Although there’s more than a 20-year age span between them, the duo realized their differences complemented each other.
“We enjoy playing together but we have different styles,” says Baker, 49. “He’s more classic rock while I’m a cross between jazz fusion and rock.”
Laing, 70, adds, “I’m not a technical guy; Kofi is. Like his dad, he’s prolific with his solos. I play by eye to hand to heart.”
Their master class isn’t typical. It runs five hours with a lunch break and serves as more of a musical gathering.
“Our class is a community of musicians exchanging information and sharing an experience,” Laing says. “We’re trying to pass on what we know for those interested in absorbing not just drumming technique but the whole atmosphere of playing rock music.”
Participants will be available to watch demonstrations as well as get behind the kit and play.
“Everything is very spontaneous and interactive,” Laing says. “We want everyone to develop a sense of joy about the instrument and walk out of the session a different player.”
Baker notes, “We focus on melodic playing. Drums don’t have to be ‘bish-bash, bish-bash.’ It’s about learning how to make music out of the drums.”
The night before the class, Laing and Baker will perform in “The Ultimate Classic Rock Experience,” where Laing plays a set of Mountain tunes while Baker jams on material from Cream, Blind Faith, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles.
“There’s no format,” Baker says. “It all depends on the crowd and how we feel. We keep it very fluid.”
INFO 8 p.m. concert April 28 ($25-$55) followed by noon master class ($125 at box office) April 29 at Patchogue Theatre, 71 E. Main St.; 631-207-1313, patchoguetheatre.org